APA-ALPA Merger Updates

Read below for APA updates regarding an APA-ALPA merger. We encourage you to read relevant articles and watch the applicable videos linked to ensure you keep your elected leadership accountable for what they say and do.

Our preliminary impression is that ALPA has the resources necessary to support the representation of the American Pilots in many areas, including bargaining, contract administration, legal, communications, air safety, government relations, and strategic planning.

Based on our investigation thus far, the Committee is unanimous that there is merit in proceeding to “Phase 2". A proposed merger agreement would answer how the issues raised in the Resolution might be resolved. The Committee is also unanimous that, as part the due diligence aspect of Phase 2, the Board of Directors consider traveling to ALPA headquarters in order to receive direct, face-to-face input from the relevant ALPA representatives, similar to what our Committee has received. Those direct interactions have been critical in giving us a fuller understanding of ALPA, what it has to offer, and what the structure of a merged union would look like. We believe the Board should have the benefit of the same level of information. 

Read the full statement here.

This afternoon, the APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee presented an interim report to the Board, which included an overview of the Air Canada Pilots Association’s in-process consideration of a merger between ACPA and ALPA. Among the highlights:

- The current ACPA Collective Bargaining Agreement would remain in effect
- Dues checkoff would remain in effect
- ACPA supplement benefits programs would remain in effect
- There would be continuity of local elected representatives
- The merger would not result in the loss of pre-merger ACPA funds for Air Canada pilots’ use under ALPA
- All ACPA employees on the effective date of the merger would be offered employment at ALPA.

Read the full presentation here.

At the request of the Chairman of the APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee, the APA BOD scheduled a Special Meeting dedicated to the Committee's final report, including its findings and recommendations regarding negotiating a merger agreement with ALPA. The meeting was scheduled to take place at APA Headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, on 6/1/23-6/2/23.

The APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee had the following update for the APA BOD at the March 7-9 Special BOD Meeting:

- A summary of the committee's attendance at the ALPA Leadership Training Conference
- Mention of a potential merger between the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) and ALPA based on conversations at the Leadership Training Conference
- A description of the committee's activities in March, including an in-person visit to ALPA March 14-16
- A plan to address the APA BOD at the April Special BOD meeting with updates from the March 14-16 visit and a potential merger agreement between ACPA and ALPA
- A request for the APA BOD to schedule a two-day special meeting dedicated to the presentation of the committee's final report along with its findings and recommendations

As you may know, at its Fall 2022 meeting, the APA Board of Directors unanimously passed Resolution 2022-25 Rev 2, “APA-ALPA Exploration and Potential Merger Process,” which established the APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee. Some of you have messaged us with questions about the committee. We want to give you this introduction to the committee, its purposes, and a summary of what we are doing and will be doing.

The Committee’s Charter Under the Resolution
The resolution followed up on a survey of the pilot group commissioned by the Board, which revealed sufficient interest among the membership to investigate a possible merger with ALPA. The resolution established the committee, with the following charter:

The APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee’s purpose is to consult with ALPA representatives and other relevant individuals to investigate issues that may need to be addressed in the event the Board of Directors elects to pursue a merger with ALPA in the future. Issues that should be investigated include, but are not limited to, financial implications, benefit plan implications, treatment of fixed assets, staff, governance issues, and seniority integration in the event of a merger or acquisition of another airline, or the integration of the wholly-owned regional carriers.

The resolution authorizes the committee to engage with representatives of ALPA and others to investigate the advantages and disadvantages of a merger.

The committee will regularly report to the Board of Directors with updates on our activities. The committee is required to provide a final report of its findings and recommendations to the Board, which is expected at the Spring 2022 meeting. While the date of the meeting has not yet been set, such meetings have historically been held in May. The report will address the specific issues listed in the committee’s charter above; compare the APA and ALPA structures and their relative advantages and disadvantages; and provide the committee’s findings and recommendations.

After submission of its final report, the committee will sunset. At that time, if the Board of Directors votes by a two-thirds vote in accordance with the Constitution & Bylaws to pursue a possible merger with ALPA, the Board will establish a new committee to pursue a proposed written merger agreement. 

The Committee’s Members and Subject-Matter Experts
The Board of Directors has appointed the following pilots to the APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee:

- CA Tom Duncan, Chair
- FO Pat Clark, Deputy Chair
- CA Eric Ferguson
- CA Robert Hamilton
- FO Ryan Mauldin

Contact information for these committee members is available on AlliedPilots.org, under the Committees tab, and you may email the committee directly at [email protected].

R2022-25 Rev 2 authorized the committee to engage outside legal counsel and other outside subject-matter experts as needed. The Committee has engaged legal counsel and a professional consultant, which were approved by the Board of Directors at its January meeting:

Legal Counsel – Wes Kennedy, Allison, Slutsky & Kennedy, P.C. Wes is a long-time union lawyer with extensive aviation-related experience. In particular, Wes has a long history with APA, including the AA/TWA acquisition and Supplement CC seniority integration agreement; the arbitration leading to Supplement C to replace Supplement CC following the AMR bankruptcy; the four-party Memorandum of Understanding leading to the AA/US Airways merger; the AA/US Airways seniority integration arbitration and subsequent arbitrations; and other specific projects. Wes also has experience over the years working with ALPA and a number of ALPA-represented pilot groups; and with other independent pilot groups that have joined ALPA.

Consultant – Jalmer Johnson, Jalmer Johnson Consulting, LLC. Jalmer advises unions and associations on economic and financial issues in contract negotiations, corporate restructurings and mergers, including analysis of corporate and labor strategies; and undertakes analysis, plan development and implementation related to organization finances, budgets, strategic planning, restructuring, union mergers and risk management. In particular, Jalmer was involved as an advisor and expert witness in the AA/US Airways seniority integration, and has advised the APA Negotiating Committee and other committees on financial and bargaining issues for over four years. Before becoming an outside consultant, Jalmer spent more than three decades on the ALPA staff, including 14 years as Manager/Director of Economic & Financial Analysis, and 14 years as General Manager – ALPA’s professional business manager and chief of staff.

Wes and Jalmer bring a long history of experience in the airline industry, as well as knowledge of APA and ALPA, to the committee’s work.

The Committee’s Activities
The committee has begun active work on the investigation called for by the resolution, including the following:

- As noted, the committee has engaged legal counsel and an outside consultant, which have been approved by the Board.
- The committee has made an extensive request for information from ALPA, to which ALPA is responding. APA and ALPA have executed a non-disclosure agreement with respect to any confidential information, assuring that such information will be shared only with designated representatives who require access to confidential information to carry out the resolution.
- We have also made a formal request for specific information from APA to assure that we have the information necessary for our review. APA is responding.
- At ALPA’s invitation, the members of the committee are attending the ALPA Leadership Training Conference this week to meet ALPA’s leadership and gain more insight into ALPA’s structure and processes. The itinerary for this meeting may be found here.

We will be reviewing the information from ALPA and APA, and will analyze the issues raised by the resolution. We will have additional meetings with ALPA to follow up, and will be working with APA’s staff and committees as needed to gather the information required to prepare our final report to the Board of Directors. As noted, the resolution contemplates that our report will be submitted to the Board at its Spring meeting. 

The APA BOD received an open session briefing from the APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee on January 4. Here is the APA synopsis with links added by AA Pilots for ALPA for more context. The video of the presentation is also below.

APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee Chair CA Tom Duncan reported that his committee has engaged in initial discussions with ALPA General Manager Dave Krieger and is planning to attend the ALPA Leadership Conference slated for Feb. 7-9. He also noted that the committee is planning to submit a data request to ALPA, and that it is reasonable to expect a similar request from ALPA to APA. As part of the committee’s presentation, the Board approved the following motions:

- To direct the President to execute a retention agreement with Allison, Slutsky & Kennedy, subject to review and approval by the Senior Director of Legal Affairs, for the purpose of providing advice and counsel.

- To direct the President to execute a retention agreement with Jalmer Johnson Consulting, subject to review and approval by the Senior Director of Legal Affairs, for the purpose of providing consulting services.

- To set the committee’s budget at $362,452 as presented by the committee.

Watch the committee update

12/8/22: The APA BOD Elects the APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee

The APA BOD elected the following members to the APA-ALPA Merger Exploratory Committee before their January deadline:

Captain Thomas Duncan (Chair)
First Officer Pat Clark (Deputy Chair)
Captain Eric Ferguson
Captain Robert Hamilton
First Officer Ryan Mauldin

Watch the committee debate and election

The APA BOD significantly changed the wording and process of the APA-ALPA Merger Committee Resolution by adding an “Exploratory” step to the process.

Read the resolution

Read the Roadmap to the Pilots' Choice

11/7/22: The Fall 2022 Membership Hour and the ALPA Survey Debrief

Ten APA members addressed the APA BOD and National Officers; nine of those members specifically urged the APA BOD to pass the APA-ALPA Merger Committee Resolution. The most members that had addressed the APA BOD at a Membership Hour in times past was six.

Watch the Membership Hour 

Professional pollster Phil Comstock in conjunction with UNH debriefed the ALPA Survey Results to the APA BOD. Here were the key takeaways:

- The survey was deemed reliable and Mr. Comstock recommended the BOD pass the APA-ALPA Merger Committee Resolution. He also noted the participation in this survey was equivalent to the last contract survey conducted by APA.

- 67% of the AA pilot group are in favor of seeing what a merger between APA and ALPA looks like. 52% of AA pilots were strongly in favor. Only 18% of AA pilots are strongly opposed to seeing what a merger with ALPA looks like.

- This survey was conducted while APA leadership was consistently telling the membership that a contract TA vote was imminent. Mr. Comstock commented that if the survey was conducted after the events of the last two weeks, then the survey would likely have been more favorable to an ALPA merger discussion.

Read the Survey Results

Watch the Survey Debrief 

Over 80 past pilot union leaders endorse the following statement:

As fellow American Airlines pilots who have centuries of union leadership experience between us, we believe a merger between APA and ALPA will create a more effective trade union. A combined APA-ALPA will strengthen the pilot profession as a whole. A merger will also combine the best aspects of both associations to improve the governance of and advocacy for the pilots of American Airlines.

We urge the APA Board of Directors to pass the APA-ALPA Merger Committee Resolution. Start the process and give the pilots of American Airlines the opportunity to make an informed choice about their representation.

Read the list of signatories.

10/7/22: ALPA Survey Closes

The ALPA Survey closes. 53% of the membership participated, which was on par with the most recent Negotiating Survey participation of 55% participation.

9/12/22: APA Dedicates a Communication to the AA Pilots about the ALPA Survey

The APA sent email and text message communications to the AA pilot group about the ALPA survey being open. The APA announced a close date of October 7, 2022.

9/9/22: The ALPA Survey Goes Live with Minimal APA Communication

The APA released the ALPA Survey on Friday, September 9, 2022. The only initial announcement was in the body of an APA Weekly News Digest. No end date to the survey was provided.

Read the News Digest Here.

8/31/22: The APA BOD Approves the ALPA Survey

After significant pressure from the APA membership, the APA BOD approved the questions and publication of the ALPA Survey.

Read the minutes.

Listen to the debate.

The APA BOD spent 45 minutes debating how to evaluate survey questions for the ALPA survey. No ALPA survey was approved for membership.

8/2/22: ALPA President Joe DePete Invitation Rescinded

Since too many APA BOD members were not scheduled to attend the August 9-11 Special Meeting, the invitation for ALPA President Joe DePete to address the APA BOD and membership was rescinded.

7/19/22: Resolution Debate, Initiation of the ALPA Survey, and ALPA’s President Invited to APA

According to an APA BOD member, the Board received more Sound Offs advocating for a merger negotiation between APA and ALPA leading up to this meeting than anything related to contract negotiations since APA opened in January 2019 through the July Special BOD Meeting.

Key events that happened at the July Special BOD meeting included:

- The APA-ALPA Merger Committee Resolution continued in its Drafting Committee.

- The APA BOD directed a survey of the membership on the topic of an APA-ALPA merger.

- The APA BOD unanimously passed a motion to invite ALPA President Joseph DePete to address the APA BOD and membership at the Special BOD Meeting August 9-11.

Watch the video of the Open Session Debate. If you do not have an hour to watch, then we highly recommend viewing these highlights:

9:15: LAX CH speaks to the resolution

11:10: LGA CH thinks a merger with ALPA can run parallel with Section 6

19:45: PHX CH motions to hire a consulting firm to evaluate a merger with ALPA

21:45: DCA CH alludes to differing discussions in closed session

35:30: PHL VC mentions significant membership feedback on ALPA

38:00: DCA VC mentions high percentage of pilot supportive of ALPA

46:15: LGA VC discusses APA-ALPA polling participation levels

59:45: DCA VC discusses membership education regarding an ALPA merger

The APA BOD posted a resolution on its agenda that contemplates the formation of an APA-ALPA Merger Committee. This committee proposed negotiating a tentative merger agreement between APA and ALPA for APA BOD and membership consideration. Read the resolution here.

- The resolution ensured merger discussions would not impede negotiations for a new contract for AA pilots.

- The resolution ensured that if a merger were to occur, the interests of APA and its pilots were protected.

- The resolution ensures the APA membership would have the final say to approve or disapprove any tentative merger agreement between APA and ALPA.